< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Jesus calls the Disciples

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jesus calls the Disciples

The night before Jesus called His disciples, He spent the entire night in prayer. When Jesus looks at a man or woman, He not only sees what they are and what they have been, but also what they will become when they yield themselves to be remade by Him.

There’s a Christian song that says, “Mercy looked past all my faults. The justice of God saw what I had done, but mercy saw me through the Son, not what I was, but what I could be, that’s how mercy saw me.”

Although all the disciples were ordinary men, each was different from the other. Peter was an extrovert, John a dreamer, Andrew was full of faith and brought his brother to Jesus. Thomas was racked with doubts.

They had different occupations: Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen, Matthew a tax collector, Simon a Zealot, (Zealots were ardent Jewish patriots who advocated revolutionary tactics to overthrow the power of Rome. They were willing to die any kind of death for their country and refused to give any earthly man the title of king.)

Normally Matthew who pretty much worked for Rome would not have gotten along with Simon! And certainly never sit at a dinner table with him! All humanity was represented in the different dispositions of that circle of men, so that it might be a demonstration of what Jesus could do with all classes and conditions of people as His fellow workers.

The disciples were commanded to preach to the Israelites. The Gentiles would come later, but in the providence of God, it was ordained that Israel, the nation originally chosen by God, should be His spokesman to the world. Therefore it was necessary the gospel should be first offered to the Jews.

Even though the Jews as a whole did reject Jesus as Messiah: remember Jesus was a Jew and it was through a believing Jewish minority, including the disciples, that God’s purposes in history was fulfilled and the world first heard the gospel.

Jesus called them. Then He trained them. When He calls us we just need to respond. The very most important thing we can ever do is tell another about Christ. Like the disciples who had three years of training with Him, we need to spend time with Him before we go out to be His disciples. It’s not always easy out there. Jesus told them in Matthew 10:16 “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves.”

We too live in a world increasingly hostile to our faith; consequently we have learned to huddle together in our church buildings. We want to stay with Jesus in the safety of our Christian assemblies. We are comfortable in our prayer and Bible study groups. We console one another in the comfort of our fellowship halls.

But, Jesus called up to permeate the culture. To be salt and light and leaven. Our mission is the same as the disciples. We are to share the good news and help usher in the kingdom of God.

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